Our lounge leopards Nori & Chai taking a cool-down on the Æquo crate on a rare 28°C summer's day.

Because the plinths ship unattached, minimal assembly deals with just two screws per speaker. The bases greet the floor with three adjustable spikes each. Receivers are included. On parquet flooring and with this hinged plinth, it's easiest to stand up the speakers without spikes, then screw those in one at a time to insure that each meets its protective mark rather than bores a hole in your wood.

Topside one encounters the analog adjustment knobs tucked behind the grill's upper end. Intuitively, those knobs scale from S to XXL for room size to dial in appropriate bass gain [left]; and corner to close-boundary to free-space positioning as signified by equally obvious symbols [right].

"When there's signal, a dim blue light shines through a few octagonal forms on the top of the speaker. Putting the power cable in starts a short red/blue/green sequence. Green means no signal. After eight minutes of no signal, it prompts auto shut-down accompanied by a small click from the subs to let you know. Constant red means trouble so you would probably never see this. Flickering red means the nCore amps are clipping so we don’t think you’ll see this either. The spikes included aren't the final ones yet. We still have to wait a few weeks for delivery. They'll be these stainless-steel CNC-turned jobs with M8 threads and an adjustable wheel of anodized aluminium so the user needs no spanner for leveling on crooked floors. The new spike shoes are sandblasted to be less prone to scratching and their shallow profile requires less aim to meet the mark."

Once Stilla is rightside up, the fact that her integral black baffle is exactly as wide as a vintage jewel case hits very hard given 20Hz claimed extension. This is one shockingly narrow speaker. It makes knowledge of dual 7" woofers inside approach magic thinking when doubt arises as to how they could possibly fit. Even though we've already covered that, seeing these stone-faced facts is still an exorcise in head twisting. Not for nothing is the area where Æquo operate called Brainport.

At Munich's 2018 installment of Europe's biggest hifi show, Æquo had strategically teamed up with Antipodes Audio of New Zealand debuting a new super server, fellow Dutchies Mola-Mola for digital and volume and LinnenberG of Germania for current gain via their new Widor stereo amp in a still pre-production casing. Asking Paul Rassin 10 days after how the event had treated them, "it was a big success mainly because of all the work we did prior. I'd been collecting distributor and dealer data from interesting amplifier and DAC brands which would make a good match. I started mailing them on a regular basis since January. This resulted in numerous show appointments plus a lot of 'undercover' distributors and dealers who introduced themselves only after listening. A few signed up right away and more could follow."

Being just one newer brand amongst a glut of others plus the massive already well-entrenched establishment makes it very difficult to stand out. Having ponied up for a full-page ad in the show guide plus one of the few €18'000 new super cabins in Hall 4 of the M.O.C.—others were occupied by firms like TotalDAC and AudioNec—meant that the Stilla system was easy to find and could make very much better sound than the usual atrocious cubicles across the center's ground floor. Apparently enough industry folks had noticed to make the necessary difference.